Vice President Pence said Monday that the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem will open before the end of 2019.
“By finally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the United States has chosen fact over fiction. And fact is the only true foundation for a just and lasting peace,” Pence said in a speech to Israel’s parliament.
The U.S. will set its relocation plans in motion in the coming weeks, with the facility slated to open by the end of next year, Pence said. Observers had previously expected the embassy to open in a few years.
During a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Pence said it was an honor to be in "Israel's capital, Jerusalem."
The Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital drew widespread backlash from leaders in Europe and the Middle East, who said it undermines the Israeli-Palestinan peace process.
Pence is the highest-level U.S. official to visit Israel since the announcement last month.
Just as Pence started his speech, several Arab lawmakers in the Knesset stood up and protested. They were escorted out by security. The main Arab party warned ahead of time it would protest, according to The Associated Press.